It is the 21st century people. The age of the internal combustion engine is coming to an end and so is the age of driver operated cars (at least that is what the media wants us to believe). But are we really moving to a greener and more efficient future? And which is the better way to go to get to that new future hydrogen or electric power?
Lexus and Toyota would have you believe the answer lies with hydrogen powered cars. “The most abundant element in the universe” is the catch phrase Toyota keeps pushing and wants you to believe. And while it is true that hydrogen is the most abundant resource in the universe we still have to figure out how to harness this infinite power.
The answer lies with electrolysis. In summation electrolysis sends a plus of electricity through water separating water or H2O into H2 and O2. The electricity to separate this compound must come from somewhere. And like most electricity the answer is likely that it will come from coal or natural gas. So while a hydrogen powered car might indeed be efficient the source from which the car receives the hydrogen will still be inefficient for the foreseeable future.
So perhaps then the future doesn’t lie with Lexus and hydrogen but instead we should look to Tesla with their lithium ion powered electric cars? A few issues arise when we look to Tesla however with their lithium ion powered solution. The first issue is obvious. Electric powered vehicles still run mainly off of a fossil fuel powered infrastructure.
Another problem arises as well when we look to lithium ion powered cars to save the world. Exactly how much lithium is left for the world to use? The answer is enough for our current generation. Estimates suggest however that by 2100 the Earth will no longer be able to support the demand. Therefore we will have a similar problem to the gas crisis that currently grips the world.
There is no perfect solution to making the world green and efficient. A combination of cleaner energy and better resource management is needed to solve the issues our society currently faces.
If this author had to choose a solution today for a greener more Earth friendly car I would lean more towards hydrogen than electric. But you never know what the future holds.